Friday, May 21, 2010


I had a little procedure yesterday... and the drugs have made me a bit sentimental.  I got to thinking about a trip to Nebraska in the 60s.

Two adults and five kids in a  Buick station
wagon.  My brother and I in the "way back" reciting lines from To Kill A Mockingbird to amuse ourselves and the family.  I was in third grade.

Nebraska fascinated me.  All that flat full of corn.My great grandmother on my father's side was something else.  She fed us to death!  Foods my mother never would have cooked, like fried chicken.  Desert time brought jello.  I immediately ate all the whipped cream off of my jiggly square.  GG hopped up and declared how impossible it was that she had forgotten my whipped cream and plopped another big blob on top.  This happened more than once.  Not whipped cream from a can and not Cool Whip... the real thing, cream fresh from a cow that day... a heavenly cloud of yum!

GG seemed to have great power in her tiny town.  We walked into the small down town and found a really-o truly-o soda fountain in the general store.  The man behind the counter would not take our money.  He took a photo instead of me sipping my chocolate soda and the next time we went there, the photo was hanging behind the counter on the wall and the sodas were still on that sweet man.

We spent a few days at Uncle Ewald's pig farm.
I learned more than a few things there... such as if you make a mother sow mad, she can tear down a wire fence and chase you all the way to the corn crib and you better be ready to divert her attention with the corn cobs that you threw at her until Uncle Ewald could rescue you.  Boy was he steaming mad!

That was where I learned that cats and kittens were not pets, but needed mousers and you were not to sneak treats to them.

Or that a thunder storm is a violent thing that causes adults to yell at you to "Get inside now!" 

And that baby piglets in mass move like wheat in the wind as you walk through them... but if you stand real still, they will come and nibble at your toes.

Or that there was a stream that ran out back of GG's house where you could catch a few fish every day while pretending to be Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn, feet dangling in the water.  GG never yelled at us for getting wet or muddy.  All she ever did was laugh and compliment us on our fabulous catch... then fried them in corn meal and served them on a china platter with the rest of the feast she laid out. 

City girl meets the country.  But the best part was catching fireflies in the warm evening.  I was so surprised to see them looking so ugly in the mason jar the next day.  How could anything at night be so beautiful and just a mere bug the next morning?

Childhood is such a sweet time.  Back home again, there were endless games of kick the can and June bugs every summer.  If you have never seen a June bug... that's one up there, but the photo does not do them justice.  They are BIG for a bug.  They are the color of dried blood with white stripes that run from head to butt.  You can tie thread to their hind leg and amuse yourself watching them fly in a circle.  But the best part is that they hiss loudly and fan those big things on their heads.  Their feet are sticky and you have to pry them off  with care not to hurt them.
Scary and thrilling bugs.  Just the sort of fun for a warm summer evening in the city.

June is coming.  Yay!  I can feel the summer on the way despite the clouds,wind and rain today.
Or maybe its just the drugs.  I don't know.  
But hey...
its a great day.  Hope yours is too.

What is up with your weekend?


  1. Lovely memories. And yes, I can feel summer, too - I think there's a warmth to all the rain that lets you know heat is on the way.

    By the way, "Uncle Ewald's Farm" would make a great name for an album.

  2. what a sweet and lovely remembrance. so glad you were feeling nostalgic and i hope you are healing up well from you r procedure.

  3. i think there's a woody guthrie song in there somewhere.

    i might start my annual turtle census at the local park. i suspect the asians are eating them but the authorities won't listen to me.

  4. secret agent woman-- Ha. I had not thought of that, but it does have a nice ring.

  5. lime-- Thanks. I feel pretty darned good. ;-)

  6. billy pilgrim-- AAAAggggkkk! Fist a Chinaman pees on your ladder and now the Asians are eating park turtles???

    This cannot continue. If I lived closer, I would help you count and complain too. Turtles have enough trouble these days.

    billy... do we know how the oil spill is going to affect the turtle migration this year? I've been worried about that.

  7. Nice post. I really enjoy the memoirs. I'm just old enough to have had fountain sodas at a Woolworth's counter. Loved those big chrome stools, I did. Or even lunch with my Mom in a booth - true elegance in my six year old eyes.

    My Nana's was a beach-house, not a farm per se, but they did have an extensive garden. My favorite side she'd serve was plates of fresh sliced tomatoes - just picked and sliced thick, with a little salt and maybe a bit of fresh parsley. No need for anything else. Went with everything, too. Fish fry, steamed mussels, crabs, BBQ. Mmmm.

    Can still taste them now.

    Pigs are much faster and smarter than you'd think, huh? My uncle raised a brace of pigs once. Named 'em Shake and Bake. I guess he didn't want to get too attached. They were amazingly clever at escaping their pen.

    One day they got out and got staggering drunk eating fermented windfall apples. Hilarious, herding them back - stumbling, bumping into things, making drunken oinkish laughs and curses. I swear the two would have harmonized a song if they could have.

    Wishing you a quick and *painless* recovery ;-)

  8. What a wonderful window into country life. I started out in a similar place, but shortly thereafter found myself smack dab in the middle of Manhattan in a life that wasn't even close to the idyllic life you so eloquently describe.

    OK, you can keep the June bugs - ewwww, you know how I feel about bugs - but everything else, including your GG sounded heavenly to me.
    Thanks for sharing that.

    Since you asked, my Saturday will be babysitting the Geek Squad agent who will be getting my computer up to specs and Sunday... well, maybe I'll lie out by the pool get some vitamin D in my body.

  9. BTW I hope your procedure was really, really minor.

  10. I love how immediate this feels. Some rural time seems like an experience every child should have. I feel like I missed out on something.

  11. "My brother and I in the "way back" reciting lines from To Kill A Mockingbird"

    Interesting. I've been reading about this book because it is the 50th anniversary of its publication. However, I've never read it nor have I seen the movie. I gather it is some sort of Southern racially-charged courtroom thing, sort of like John Grisham's "A Time to Kill".

  12. Cricket-- Ha! I would have enjoyed the drunk pigs! What a hoot.

    I have so many happy memories from my childhood. This GG was not my other GG that I have talked about. The people in my family tend to live a very long time. My GG S... the one I talk about most lived to be 103. She saw some amazing things and shared those memories... making me into the fool I am for a great story.

  13. Cube-- I miss pools! Here they are indoors. How can you worship the sun inside? Its just not the same.

    Hope your Geek fixed things up for you... and you got to enjoy those rays.

  14. laura b.-- I have many more happy memories of time in the city. The rural life that I have been living in is not really for me. Better for vacations... though I tend to have fun everywhere I go.

  15. Cube-- It was not "serious" in any life threatening way. Mostly uncomfortable. But that is passing away quickly now.

  16. dmarks-- I have no doubt that To Kill A Mockingbird was the inspiration for Grisham. He did take it farther.

    Harper Lee wrote only that one book. She was a friend of Truman Capote and it has been said that the young friend who lived nextdoor to Jim and Scout, the heros of the story, was based on Truman himself as a child.

    It is an excellent book. Yes, about racist feelings and the social issue of being a young dirt poor girl , pregnant and without an explanation for it in a tiny town where gossip and shame were major issues. She cried rape and blamed a man she felt had no worth because he was black.

    But it is also the story of the children growing up in that culture... and the lessons they learned in tolerance through tragic experience. Very much worth reading or seeing the movie. It is one of the few movies that is true to the story.

  17. Excellent mental pictures you painted here. Man, I could go for some of that fried chicken and fried fish and even the Jell-O right about now.

  18. Suldog-- You know it! Simple things really are great pleasures.

  19. I hope you heal quickly.

    It was 90 degrees here, so I was definitely feeling Summer.

    I have never driven through Nebraska without encountering a terrifying thunderstorm. Yeesh!

  20. Churlita-- The thunder storms are insane there!